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It’s all just music, stupid

Updated on: 02 July,2021 09:05 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shunashir Sen |

A guitarist’s debut album cocks a snook at listeners who segregate songs into genres

It’s all just music, stupid

(From left) Arunava Chatterjee, Rohan Ganguli, Aniruddh Saha, Rie Ona

Here's the thing about classifying music into genres. It’s like segregating supermarket products into different shelves. The whole exercise is meant to make things easier for the consumer. But sometimes, you can get confused in the aisles. You may ask yourself, “Should I buy a progressive-rock record or a metal one?” But that’s all right. It’s an understandable question because, what’s in a genre? It’s all music at the end of the day, songs that are inherently the same product simply packaged differently. It’s not like choosing between dishwashing liquid and a packet of rice.

That’s the sort of feeling you get from King of Summer, Kolkata guitar veteran Rohan Ganguli’s debut solo album. It might seem like a jazz record at first (and there are definitely recurring elements of that particular genre over the course of nine songs). But you also discover other elements like rock and western classical as you start peeling the layers. Ganguli says, “When people ask me to bracket the record, I tell them to bracket it in whatever way they want. Some think it’s some experimental fusion thing. Others find it to be pure jazz. But I’d rather not describe it at all.”

Fair enough, but we can at least attempt to describe the mood of the record. It’s the sort of album that can make two lovers in the midst of a bitter squabble resolve their differences and embrace each other, because the music puts you in a space where emotions like anger are caged behind bars. There is no vitriol in the compositions. The effort instead sounds as if three people — saxophonist Rie Ona, drummer Aniruddh Saha and pianist Arunava Shonai Chatterjee — joined hands with Ganguli to help him express his gentle, loving emotions better. And it doesn’t matter how you label this expression. Why? Because had this album indeed been a supermarket product, it would be one with no labelling at all. 

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